Qasr al-Hosn

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The First Tower (1761) seen from the gate

The Qasr al-Hosn (Arabic: قصر الحصن‎), is the oldest stone building in the city of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.


It is located along Sheikh Zayed the First Street (i.e., Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, not Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan), on the same compound as the Cultural Foundation (arabic site).


Also known as the 'white fort' (erroneously so, it was never white until the 1976–1983 renovations when it acquired a bright white painted concrete render) or 'old fort', it started out as a round watchtower defending the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island in ca. 1761. This tower was later expanded to a small fort in ca. 1793, at which point it became the permanent residence of the ruling sheikh. A major extension to its current shape took place in the late 1930s, aided by revenues received for granting the first oil license in Abu Dhabi. It remained the royal palace (hence the name Qasr al-Hosn, meaning palace-fort) and seat of government until 1966. Plans have been drafted in 2007 to redevelop the site and open it up to the public.

Current research[edit]

The Qasr al-Hosn is currently the subject of extensive historical, archaeological, and architectural research.[citation needed]


  • Heard-Bey, Frauke (2004) From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, Motivate (3rd edition).
  • Reem El Mutwalli (1995 1st ed) Qasr al Husn, An Architectural Servay, Abu Dhabi.
  • Maitra, Jayanti and Al Hajji, Afra (2001) Qasr al Hosn: The History of the Rulers of Abu Dhabi 1793–1966. Abu Dhabi. National Center for Documentation and Research.

Coordinates: 24°28′57″N 54°21′17″E / 24.48239°N 54.35482°E / 24.48239; 54.35482